Supergirl #2 review

Supergirl has fought the Cyborg Superman previously, but now things are different. He's claiming to be her father Zor-El, whom she believes is dead. He wants to talk to her about raising her lost home, Argo City, to life again, but very soon they're fighting, and 'Cyborg Superman' blows up. 

Leaving the mystery to percolate, Kara calls into the National City prison, nicknamed the Ditch, to see how the chief train robber she recently captured is doing. He's suitably surprised, but she really cares about this stranger's welfare. 
Back in National City, there's a special guest at Kara Danvers's School for Science Whizzes. 
Kara's hopes of winning a place on the CatCo Young Innovators programme look to have wilted on the vine when school rival Ben Rubel stops her speaking and impresses Cat. But Cat's done her research and believes Kara deserves another chance, via an unconventional interview. 

Back home with foster parents/superspy handlers the Danvers, Kara is contacted by the Man Who Would Be Zor-El. He has an offer for her, and she just might be about to take it...

I mentioned my problems with Cyborg Superman's return last month, but solicitations tell me he's here for awhile so there's no point harping on. Writer Steve Orlando makes the way he creeps into Kara's psyche believable, without lessening his creepiness. Before that, the interaction with Ben - a youth who, in trying too hard, steps on others the way he's supposedly been trampled upon - shows that Kara's not planning to act the milksop. 
Eliza Danvers is as warm and sweet as Ben is cold and sour and I love how she tries to connect with Kara. And Orlando writes the most brilliant Cat Grant, brusque yet insightful, genuinely wanting to help young talent. 
As for the prison visiting, I'm curious as to where Orlando is going with this - I think it's great that Kara wants to help people change, but is it healthy for a teenager to be hanging around people who, odds are, are just pretty awful humans. There's a difference between a young person taking a misstep and hardened criminals. 

It would be easier to take if artist Brian Ching didn't draw her so young looking. Still while the peg doll style doesn't appeal to me hugely, overall, it's fine. The Cat Grant scenes are actually really effective, with Ching bringing a genuine sense of Calista Flockhart to the character. I do hope, though, that Ching eventually realises that a lot of us are reading on tablets, and we zoom in on panels, making moments like this stand out. 
Just a little line or blob to indicate a mouth, and a watch kept on the wonkiness, that's all I ask. 

The fight scene in the Fortress between Kara and Cyborg Superman needs more oomph, it's a little understated - figures that aren't teeny-tiny would be a start. What should have been the big moment lacks dynamism, that Blackhawk plane looks more like it's levitating than being hurled by Kara at Zor-El.
I may be a little grumpy here. The return of the ill-conceived Cyborg Superman, Kara constantly looking sad or bad-tempered... Supergirl was in such a good place at the close of the last run that it feels we've taken far too many steps backwards. I really hope Orlando cheers her up soon - yes, in Kara's mind the loss of Argo and her family is recent, but she's been working through it; maybe this storyline will act as a catharsis and have Kara conclude that the best way to pay tribute to her world is to embrace her new one, live in the now. 

Back to the positives: Mike Atiyeh's colouring complements Ching's illustrations, especially in the moodier moments - the final page is terrific. We get a hint as to how Kara instantly colours her hair. 
And Steve Wands does great work with italicisation, his lettering helps sell the script. The main cover by Ching and Atiyeh is effective, though I wish Kara had some bones in her thighs. The Bengal variant is a lovely spin on a classic theme. 
So, two issues in and I'm enjoying Supergirl, but not as much as I'd like. Orlando, Ching and co are certainly capturing a little of the TV show, and doing a fine job of introducing characters and developing Kara's new environment. It could just be that this isn't a book made for me - the vibe is determinedly Young Adult and I'm an old git. But I'm a Supergirl lifer, so sticking around to cheer the creative team - and Kara - on. 


  1. I agree with a lot of your sentiment.
    I am enjoying this Supergirl but this feels like a true reboot. So much of what Orlando is doing with the character seems a bit out of place for the girl who embraced her destiny at the Crucible school. When did she get awkward?
    And Ching's art isn't quite doing it for me.

    But if I put the history behind me, this is a fine comic with a Kara I like. It just reads like a brand new character. Still, this is light years better than the efforts of Loeb, Kelly, Green, Nelson, Lobdell, etc.

    1. Maybe the crucible school stuff is being ignored because so many people bailed when the arc started? I know for me it was just one out of nowhere one hundred eighty degree shift too many in too short a time and I stopped reading. I've seen online I wasn't alone...

      And yikes but the art is bad! I don't buy books for the art generally (tho' I would buy a Colleen Doran drawn book even if it were written by Chuck Austen) but the off model Supergirl looking half-drawn IS very distracting!

    2. Anj, I agree, treat Kara as a brand new character and all is well, but heck, this is meant to be very much not a reboot - they're even directly referencing New 52 stories. Drat!

    3. I'm actually OK on the Bold New Direction thing, Steve, we've seen it plenty of times with plenty of Supergirls... it's the ditching of the character development that gets me.

  2. The art is terrible in my eyes but I can understand that a younger audience might like the rough, sketchy look. The very young looking Kara is not dissimilar to how Babs is most often portrayed now.

    I can actually understand the awkwardness, Kara before had no secret identity and didn't have to live as a "normal teenager" with "parents" attending a high school. She was on one big mess of a ride from the beginning and only fit in at a school with people on her level. It fits that trying to work with the equivalent of ancient technology would be difficult, especially if she's not written with a super-brain as she had back before Crisis.

    I can even forgive the seeming dissolution of prior continuity, including Silver Banshee and The Crucible as it can be seen as a result of Rebirth, similar to how things were conveniently erased after COIE. However, seeing how she was portrayed in the Rebirth one-shot, it is very jarring once you read her here.

    In that sense, it does make it feel much more like a hard reboot, but that might be able to be blamed on the past five years of writers, including Lobdell. It reminds me of comparing the worst of Pre-Flashpoint with Gates' run and "Kryptonite poisoning." Plus, at this point, after 31 years of mixed writing and 700 versions of the character, I'm kind of used to it. It's the art that makes me actually not want to read it. If it wasn't Kara, I'd so drop the book - as I'm doing with Titans. I wanna support Wally but ... ugh.

  3. It just saddens me that we went through so many awful stories >cough< Hel >cough<To get Kara to a place where she was happy, and had friends, and her book had actual subplots. And now they're gone!

    1. Very true. Sadly, "Hel" is too often what it's like *being* a Supergirl fan. If only Gates, David, or Kupperberg were the ones only allowed to write the character, but at least we have a writer here who has stated a positive view on the character. (It's also a shame that the TV series is proving to be a disappointing mess with continued drops in ratings, something sadly attributable with Supergirl. I'm kind of considering just dropping both TV and comic for a while ... watch and read later.


Post a Comment